The National Law University, Delhi (‘University’) through Project 39A (P39A) is seeking to engage, on a contractual basis, one Associate (Mitigation) at its campus in Dwarka, New Delhi. The contract will be for one year initially and can be extended on an annual basis at the discretion of the University. The Associate will be responsible for working on cases being handled by P39A, primarily concerning prisoners sentenced to death.
About Project 39A:
Project 39A (hereinafter ‘P39A’) draws inspiration from Article 39-A in the Indian Constitution on equal justice and signals the broadening of our work on the criminal justice system in India. We undertake litigation, research and outreach relating to forensics, torture, legal aid, forensic psychiatry and death penalty (for more information on P39A, visit www.project39a.com).
Role of a Mitigation Investigator:
The law as settled by the Supreme Court of India in death penalty cases states that guilt determination and sentencing are two distinct phases in a criminal proceeding. After a person is pronounced guilty, a separate and detailed hearing on sentence is required to be conducted in which the defence can lead evidence and present additional materials which are different from what was considered for determination of guilt. Circumstances related to the ‘crime’ as well as the ‘criminal’ are relevant before a sentence of death can be pronounced. A mitigation investigator works closely with lawyers to develop a life story of the accused by meaningfully engaging with the accused, their family and acquaintances as well as finding documents relating to the childhood, social context, physical and mental health etc.
This aids the Court in developing a better understanding of the circumstances related to the “criminal” and in passing an appropriate sentence in law. Such investigations require a constant contact to be maintained with the prisoner, their family and acquaintances in order to build a working relationship of trust.
A. Devise effective strategies and communication tools for 1) establishing contact, 2) engaging in rapport building interactions with, and 3) obtaining relevant information (data based, anecdotal, biographic documentary) from prisoners, their families and other persons and authorities who may have information, relevant for mitigation, keeping in mind the specificities of each case, with an emphasis on understanding the mental health and psycho-social history of the prisoners.
B. Travel extensively throughout India, meet and communicate with prisoners, their family members, and other persons who may have oral and documentary information relevant for mitigation of the prisoners, using the tools and techniques for communication and obtaining information devised.
C. Devise effective tools for collecting, storing and presenting all the information gathered, whether oral and documentary, in a coherent and organized manner.
D. Devise strategies for engaging with mental health professionals and other allied experts in order to obtain their professional opinion about individual cases.
E. Strategize and work with other associates at Project 39A on how to effectively incorporate such information about the prisoner into the legal case of the prisoner before the judicial forum, or as part of their mercy petition.
F. Organize training workshops and conferences for prison officials, judges, lawyers and others within the criminal justice system.
G. Present the work of Project 39A at various fora.
H. Any other work that may be necessary to further the aims of Project 39A.
A. Graduate with a degree in social work, psychology, journalism, development studies, economics, sociology, law or any allied discipline. A degree in law is not mandatory but will be an advantage.
B. At least two (2) years of work experience in the respective field would be preferred.
C. Any previous field work involving an emphasis on communication skills, investigative capacities and/or mental health will be considered an advantage.
D. Substantial proficiency in reading/ speaking Hindi will be necessary. Additional proficiency in Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu would be an advantage.
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience and will be within the range of Rs. 55,000 – 65,000 per month.
Interested persons may send their resumé and a statement of purpose, explaining their interest in working on the death penalty and the contribution that they see themselves making through this position. The statement of purpose must not exceed 750 words. Applications and documents will be accepted only through the form available here: https://www.project39a.com/associate-mitigation
Deadline and Selection Process:
Applications must reach us no later than November 10, 2021 after which the applications will not be accepted. The selection process for shortlisted candidates will be held between 19-21 November 2021. Subject to the situation concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, shortlisted candidates are likely to be required to be present on the University campus for the selection process. In case shortlisted candidates face extreme difficulty with such a requirement, suitable online alternate arrangements will be made.